Today I want to cover a very important topic in your mid-20’s: finding the perfect wedding guest dress.
What you wear to a wedding actually says a lot about you. We all know that there are traditional definitions or dress codes for weddings, but somehow I’m always left scratching my head a couple days before each wedding I attend. I thought I’d compile a list of both what to look for when wedding guest dress shopping, as well as actual dresses you can buy today that are perfect for this occasion!
You can also browse my summer fashion essentials for what to wear when not attending a wedding!
On The Hunt
When you’re on the hunt for a new wedding guest dress, there are plenty of things to keep in mind:
- Venue & Seasonality: What you would wear to a January wedding in Michigan is very different than a beach wedding in July; this is a no-brainer. In addition to seasonality, venue must be considered when selecting your wedding guest dress. If the wedding you will be attending is at a Catholic Church, it’s going to be important that you show modesty, and consider covering your knees and shoulders. If you’re attending a wedding at a state park or outdoor venue, bare shoulders are perfectly fine!
- Modesty: While modesty should be on your mind for every wedding, there are certain circumstances where it may play a larger role than others. My dresses for weddings in my boyfriend’s family will be different than those I might wear to my college roommate’s wedding. I want to make a good impression and cater to older, more traditional family members who may otherwise judge me at the boyfriend’s family wedding, whereas at my college roommate’s wedding, I’m not as concerned as the impression my clothing gives off. This ties in closesly with venue; if you are in a modest venue, it is important to wear more modest attire.
- Invitation Dress Code: This should go without saying, but follow the instructions on the invitation or website (if they are provided). Wearing stillettos to an outdoor wedding is an absolute disaster, and I have plenty of brides to thank for adding a note to the invitation, reminding me to wear wedges instead. By now, you should know that cocktail dresses are usually shorter, while black tie formal tends to mean a longer gown.
- Color: Never wear white. Not even a shade of it. Don’t even consider it. Just don’t do it. I even take it to the extreme and avoid off-white with patterns or floral print, because I don’t even want to come close to breaking this rule. Similarly, I try not to wear black to weddings (unless the invitation calls for it). Weddings are fun occasions to celebrate the couple’s love and as such, fun colors feel appropriate for that! You can never go wrong in either a bright jewel tone or soft pastels (that aren’t too close to white). For fall or winter weddings, I tend to stick to darker colors: forest green, wine, navy blue.
Ready to Purchase?
When you are all set with your ideal dress in mind, check out a few of these options for different events & tell me which ones you love the most! There is one budget-friendly and one splurge-worthy dress for each category 🙂
Summer Beach Wedding
Whether the wedding is on a beach, on a golf course, or at a barn, these looks will work for any outdoor summer wedding guest dress!
Option 1: $44, Boohoo Floral Cold Shoulder Mini Dress, Asos
Option 2: $218, Privacy Please Fillmore Dress, Revolve
Indoor Formal Wedding
These looks should work for an indoor wedding (year round). I have been attending more and more fall weddings, and these looks would be perfect there! For more formal weddings, I tend to stick with longer dresses, although there are plenty of short dresses that work too!
Option 1: $68, Air of Romance Burgundy Maxi Dress, Lulus
Option 2: $279, Shona Joy Knot Draped Dress, Revolve
Whether it’s a family wedding in your S.O.’s family, or a full Catholic mass ceremony, these dresses will help you keep your sterling reputation & make a good impression.
Option 1: $52, Season of Fun Magenta Off the Shoulder Skater Dress, Lulus
Option 2: $495, Rachel Zoe Estelle Cutout Back Maxi Dress, ShopBop
What are some of your tips & tricks for finding the perfect wedding guest dress? Let me know in the comments below!